Access to Elected Office Fund

Grants are available to disabled people in the UK who are seeking to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

Individual grants of between £250 and £40,000 are available.

There is a limit of £40,000 for each person applying in every calendar year. Applicants may submit more than one application in a calendar year, but they must not exceed £40,000 in total.

Applicants must submit a separate application for each type of election they wish to stand for (or be considered for selection for) as there are different expenses rules for different types of election.

For Scotland, in 2017, awards will be determined entirely based on individual circumstances. Below are some examples of support where the fund could help with costs for various impairments:

  • Communication support such as BSL interpreters for a Deaf candidate so they can attend take part in meetings and campaigning.
  • Personal assistants to assist a candidate with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome during their campaign activities.
  • Awareness training for branch members where a candidate has Aspergers Syndrome.
  • Taxi fares for a candidate with a mobility impairment so that they can take part in meetings and campaigning.
  • Equipment or software to assist a candidate who has dyslexia to assist aspects of their campaign where writing is required.
Apply

Before You Start

The Access to Elected Office Fund is provided by the UK Government and administered by Convey. Convey is a delivery partner of the Government, but is not linked to any political party.

The aim of the Fund is to provide grant funding to support disabled people who want to be considered for selection as candidates for an election, or are standing for election.

Restrictions

Grants will not be awarded for:

  • General costs that any election candidate needs to meet such as campaigning costs, eg leaflets.
  • General living costs.

Applications for political parties or organisations will not be accepted.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

Applications are accepted from disabled people seeking to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

Applicants must be able to:

  • Confirm their eligibility to stand for office under the requirements of electoral law, as set out in the Electoral Commission’s guidance.
  • Provide evidence relating to their disability.
  • Provide evidence that they have been involved or interested in civic, community or other relevant activities.

Applicants must have a disability as defined by the [PF002260]{TITLE}[/PF]. The Act defines a disabled person as someone with a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.

Eligible Expenditure

Grants are available for additional disability-related costs payable as part of standing in the following elections or by-elections:

  • UK Parliament elections (England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).
  • Local elections (not parish) in England.
  • Greater London Authority elections.
  • Mayoral elections in England.
  • Police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales.

Examples of eligible costs include the following:

  • Private taxis (if applicants cannot use public transport or drive).
  • Extra parking charges (if applicants have limited mobility due to their disability or condition, but have access to a vehicle).
  • Costs associated with employing a personal assistant.
  • Communication-related costs, ie BSL interpreter.
  • Technology-related costs, ie aids and equipment such as voice-recognition programmes or screenreaders.

Other costs may be considered providing the applicant can demonstrate a need for them.

In Scotland, for 2017, the fund can support additional costs relating to disability that non-disabled candidates would not have to pay. Assistance offered will vary depending on what each person needs to help them during their campaign.

How To Apply

Deadline(s):

The Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland has been established, offering financial assistance to disabled people who are seeking selection or have already been selected to stand in the 2017 Scottish Local Authority Elections. The Fund is now open for enquiries and will run until May 2017.

The programme with the rest of the UK remains closed at this stage.

Frequency: Rolling programme.

Link to guidelines:

Useful information:

https://www.gov.uk/access-to-elected-office-fund/overview

Scotland: http://inclusionscotland.org/information/employability-and-civic-participation/access-to-politics/aeofs/

Applications for less than £500 will receive a decision in less than one month.

Applications for grants of £500 or more (or multiple applications totalling £500 or more) will be reviewed by the Access to Elected Office Fund Advisory Panel.

Applications received after a deadline date will not be considered until the next round.

Applications can be made online at the Action to Elected Office Fund website. Applicants wishing to apply by post, phone or textphone should contact the Fund.

Applications must be supported by an independent referee or member of the political party for which the applicant is seeking selection or standing for elected office.